On November 22, Tesla launched its first fully electric pickup truck—Tesla Cybertruck. The market didn’t seem too excited about the “cutting edge” design. Tesla stock lost 6.14% on the same day. Apart from the design surprise, the market wasn’t pleased with the shattered window incident during the launch. The window was supposed to be shatterproof.
I got a déjà vu moment when I looked at the pictures of Tesla Cybertruck. My six-year-old son drew something similar a few days ago. Some Twitter users agree with me that the truck is unique.
Tesla Cybertruck got new orders
However, none of the feedback mattered to Tesla fans. A few hours ago, Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla Cybertruck has received 200,000 orders in just three days since the truck launched. However, there’s a catch. Customers can pre-order with just a $100 deposit. Tesla Cybertruck won’t be out on the streets before 2021.
Upcoming challenges for Tesla Cybertruck
While Tesla Cybertruck has received 200,000 pre-orders so far, the road might get tougher. First, individuals who have already pre-ordered the truck might be the most enthusiastic Tesla fans. Converting skeptical individuals and Tesla-haters will be a difficult task. Second, a lot of analysts have pointed out that Tesla Cybertruck’s design makes it a niche product. As a result, the mass adoption of Tesla Cybertruck might be difficult. Third, competition is increasing in the electric vehicle segment.
Ford’s (F) electric F-150 will likely be available around the same time as Tesla Cybertruck. Rivian, a Ford and Amazon backed startup, is also working on its own R1T electric pickup truck. General Motors (GM) plans to develop an electric pickup soon.
Automakers want to build electric SUVs and trucks
Light trucks, which include pickups and SUVs, are in demand. The demand is evident in the sales numbers. While the auto industry is in “dire straits,” according to CNBC’s Jim Cramer, the light truck segment might have bypassed the downturn. In October, US light truck sales were just shy of 1 million—a 6.4% increase compared to October 2018. During the first ten months of 2019, almost 10 million trucks were sold in the US—a 3.1% increase compared to the same period in 2018. In contrast, passenger car sales fell 16.4% in October and 9.9% in the first ten months of 2019.
Ford’s F-150 is still the favorite pickup truck in the US. The F-series recorded a 5.8% increase in deliveries in October. However, the deliveries fell 1.6% in the first ten months of 2019. Fiat Chrysler’s Ram (FCAU) saw its deliveries increase in October and the first ten months of 2019. General Motors’ Chevrolet Silverado was third with 12.1% growth in deliveries in October. Over the years, the buying trend has moved towards light trucks. In 2018, car sales fell, while light truck sales got a boost. Pickup trucks will be the next battleground for legacy automakers and new-age electric vehicle makers.
Could Ford challenge Tesla’s EV dominance?
Ford is going big on electric vehicles. A few days ago, the company launched its first fully electric vehicle—the Mach-E. Ford Mach-E is based on the Mustang. The vehicle will compete with Tesla’s Model Y SUV. Mach-E will also compete with Tesla Model 3 on price point. Credit Suisse has already warned that Ford could threaten Tesla’s dominance. Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy said, “Ford’s new [electric vehicle] should provide a more compelling alternative at the Model 3 price range than the other comps, especially given the performance focus.” Talking about Ford Mach-E, Levy also added that “The launch marks the first real milestone in Ford’s increased emphasis in electrification, and more importantly marks an increased effort by the legacy US automakers to be relevant in electrification.”
Ford’s electric F-150 could be the biggest gamechanger in the EV segment. Based on the design and mainstream potential, the electric Ford F-150, like the Rivian R1T, looks like a promising alternative to Tesla Cybertruck. Ford has invested in Rivian as well. Notably, Rivian came into the limelight when Amazon’s Jeff Bezos announced in September that the e-commerce giant ordered 100,000 electric vans from the Michigan-based startup.